Get More Smarter on Tuesday (December 6)

Get More SmarterToday is Colorado Gives Day; if you have an email account, you’re probably well aware of this already. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► You’d have better luck finding someone who actually likes fruit cake than hearing that Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is actually being asked substantive questions about…well, about anything.


► Serving on President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team may be one of the more pointless endeavors in Washington D.C. As Politico reports:

While Donald Trump dines on frog legs with Mitt Romney and meets with a parade of lawmakers and governors in his gold-plated Midtown skyscraper, most of his transition staff are hunkered down in Washington, D.C., writing detailed governing plans for his first 100 days.

But so far, Trump and his inner circle have largely ignored those plans as they focus on top appointments and lean on the advice of politicians, CEOs and donors, rather than on their transition staff, say sources close to the transition.

The president-elect, meanwhile, has been more likely to set policy on Twitter than through consultation with his D.C. advisers.

“The senior people are all focused on Cabinet appointments,” said a Republican official involved in past transitions. “I wonder how much time, attention and decision-making is being allocated to the rest of the government. … It is not a recipe for smooth governance.”

In a separate story for PoliticoAlex Isenstadt writes that President-elect Twitterer is gradually taking over the Republican Party.


► The 2018 race for Governor will be the marquee event on Colorado’s political calendar for the next two years, and the scuttlebutt has already begun to, uh, scuttle.


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Get More Smarter on Monday (December 5)

Get More SmarterHell hasn’t frozen over — as far as we know — but Hawaii is expected to get up to six inches of snow. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► If you aren’t paying attention to Republican plans surrounding Obamacare, it’s time to get serious. As we wrote in this space over the weekend, Republicans are eager to dump Obamacare and replace it with…basically the same thing, only with a different name and with massive public bailouts of the insurance industry attached. Mother Jones has a good explanation of this entire mess.


► President-elect Donald Trump has officially selected former neurosurgeon Ben Carson as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. As CNN reports, you have reason to be concerned about Carson’s ability to direct a big government agency (don’t take our word for it):

Carson’s name had been attached to multiple cabinet-level positions throughout the transition process, most significantly the position of Health and Human Services secretary. But, according to Carson aide Armstrong Williams, the veteran neurosurgeon turned down an offer of that position due to his lack of experience running a federal agency.

“He’s never run an agency and it’s a lot to ask. He’s a neophyte and that’s not his strength,” Williams said.

And to think: Ben Carson made a reasonably-effective run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016.


► After weeks of baseless claims about election fraud, North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has finally conceded his re-election bid to Democrat Roy Cooper. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to push that nonsense transgender bathroom bill in North Carolina, eh, soon-to-be-former Governor McCrory?


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Get More Smarter on Monday (November 28)

Get More SmarterHappy Cyber Monday! To celebrate, today’s edition of Get More Smarter is completely free (sans shipping and handling). It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► President-elect Donald Trump is casting doubts on the legitimacy of his own election. From Politico:

Donald Trump on Sunday used his platform as president-elect to peddle a fringe conspiracy theory to justify his loss of the popular vote, claiming without evidence that millions of people voted illegally Nov. 8.

Trump’s tweets marked an unprecedented rebuke of the U.S. electoral system by a president-elect and met with immediate condemnation from voting experts and others. And they offered a troubling indication that Trump’s ascension to the highest political office in the United States may not alter his penchant for repeating unproven conspiracy theories perpetuated by the far right.

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump wrote on Twitter. There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim and PolitiFactruled it false.

Several hours later, he added more specifics, but again without any evidence: “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California — so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias — big problem!”

Election law experts quickly rejected Trump’s claims as far-fetched.

Trump’s comments on Sunday are confusing to say the least; the President-elect is almost making an argument in favor of a recount of his own victory. Last week, Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein moved forward with a plan demanding a recount of votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania; on Monday, officials in Wisconsin set Thursday as the starting date for a recount. Casting your own doubts on the legitimacy of the 2016 election is not a good strategy when you are simultaneously trying to delegitimize efforts that could cost you the election.


► Trump-whisperer Kellyanne Conway is definitely not on board with the possibility that Mitt Romney could be named Secretary of State. From “The Fix”:

Kellyanne Conway made one thing very clear in her Sunday interview with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd: She’s not a fan of Mitt Romney. Like, at all.

Here’s how she responded to Todd’s question about her feelings about the 2012 Republican presidential nominee:

People feel betrayed to think that Governor Romney, who went out of his way to question the character and the intellect and the integrity of Donald Trump, now our president-elect, would be given the most significant cabinet post of all, secretary of state. And that is a decision that only one man can make, President-elect Donald Trump. I will respect it, and I will support it 1,000 percent. But I’m reflecting what the grass roots are saying…

They feel a bit betrayed that you can get a Romney back in there after everything he did. We don’t even know if he voted for Donald Trump. He and his consultants were nothing but awful to Donald Trump for a year. [Pols emphasis]

Trump is scheduled to meet again with Romney on Tuesday.


► As much as Colorado Republicans would like to blame the federal government, Colorado is not facing crippling budget problems because of Medicaid. Get the facts first.



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Holiday Weekend Reading: Medicaid Fact vs. Fiction

snowycapitolAs we emerge from our tryptophan comas–which is a myth, by the way, you were just tired–our friends at the Bell Policy Center contributed a very useful body of knowledge about the growing cost of funding the state’s Medicaid public health insurance system. Going into next year’s legislative session, where the state’s Medicaid commitments will mingle with a much larger national debate over the Affordable Care Act’s future, it’s critically important to keep some basic facts about what’s happening and why:

On November 14, Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee kicked off its first week of meetings to begin the long, intricate process of passing a state budget. The Governor’s FY 17-18 budget request asks for a $142.8 million increase for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), which administers Medicaid, called Health First Colorado. The discussion turned to why the HCPF budget continues to grow and what can be done about it given the projected state budget deficit. It won’t be the last time we talk Medicaid this session, and the conversation is sure to grow more important after Inauguration Day. But for now, here are some things to keep in mind:

Medicaid provides important support for many types of Coloradans, including many who are working. In last year’s presentation to the JBC, HCPF documented that it insures one in five people in our state. Health First Colorado insures pregnant women, approximately 43% of Colorado child births, children and adolescents, working adults (approximately 74% of those insured by Medicaid are employed), and the elderly and disabled. About one-third of Coloradans over age 65 are living with a disability, according to a report from Caring Across Generations.

Next fiscal year, according to the Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) nine percent of Medicaid members will be elderly and people with disabilities – but they will account for 42 percent of the overall FY 17-18 expenditures. This week the Governor said, as the Bell has noted, that these numbers will continue to grow. Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne echoed that this rising piece of the Medicaid caseload will tap right into the General Fund. She added, “long-term care is the single biggest driver with respect to our Medicaid budget.” [Pols emphasis]

And that means something very, very important to the politics of the upcoming debate, from Colorado’s budget to the halls of Congress:

Colorado’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not the main source of General Fund pain. The nonpartisan Colorado Health Institute released a report last May that provided a snapshot of Colorado’s ACA Medicaid expansion efforts to date. It found that the total cost of expansion under the ACA in Colorado was $1.6 billion as of June 2015, which was more than expected. However, this was almost entirely paid for by the federal government. Less than five percent of the expansion was paid for by the state, and those costs were paid out of the hospital provider fee (HPF), not the general fund. [Pols emphasis] The larger-than-expected costs are in part because we experienced growth in enrollees who were already eligible for Medicaid before we expanded Medicaid, but who had not previously enrolled. Starting next year, the state share of the expansion will grow, capped at 10 percent by 2020 under current federal law. Revenues from the HPF are supposed to cover this expense.

With “Obamacare” now the vessel into which all dissatisfaction with American health care delivery is being poured, it’s practically guaranteed that Republicans at all levels will unfairly blame the 2010 reform law for the very different problem caused by rising cost of care and an aging population–a population eligible for Medicaid coverage before President Barack Obama’s “signature achievement” was ever signed. The truth is that between the revenue from the hospital provider fee and federal money to cover most of the Medicaid expansion from the ACA, the expansion is not what’s driving the increase in bottom-line costs for Colorado.

It’s us. It’s our parents. It’s people who can’t be so crassly stereotyped. Because Medicaid is providing this major benefit to thousands more Coloradans with federal funds, it’s boosting Colorado’s economy–not hurting it. And moving into an uncertain 2017, these simple facts about Medicaid’s cost and benefits in Colorado are going to need to be restated again and again. Being able to agree on a common set of facts, after all, is the only way to have an honest discussion about the impact of Medicaid on rest of the budget, the debate over the hospital provider fee and TABOR, or anything else.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (November 23)

MoreSmarterLogo-PilgrimHatYou’re less than 24 hours away from being asleep on the couch. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► What’s the difference between Donald Trump the candidate for President and Donald Trump the actual President of the United States? Perhaps quite a bit. As the New York Times reports:

President-elect Donald J. Trump retreated on Tuesday from some of his most extreme campaign promises, dropping his vow to jail Hillary Clinton, expressing doubt about the value of torturing terrorism suspects and pledging to have an open mind about climate change.

But in a wide-ranging, hourlong interview with reporters and editors at The New York Times — which was scheduled, canceled and then reinstated after a dispute over the ground rules — Mr. Trump was fiercely unapologetic about repeatedly flouting the traditional ethical and political conventions that have long shaped the American presidency.

Trump also made it clear that he has not forgiven Republicans who opposed his Presidential bid — here’s looking at you, Sen. Cory Gardner — while his sit-down interview with the Times also led to some significant concerns from other journalists.


► President-elect Donald Trump may have finally run out of white dudes to select as top administration officials. Trump announced on Wednesday that he will nominate South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Just kidding on the white dude thing; former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is apparently the frontrunner to become Secretary of State.


► The 2018 Big Line is now live! And there was much rejoicing.


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The Square Root of Gerrymandering

Good luck finding the "efficiency gap" in current legislative maps.

Finding the “efficiency gap” in the redistricting process could soon get much easier.

Michael Wines of the New York Times has a fascinating look at a new court ruling in Wisconsin that has the potential to dramatically change the process of redistricting/reapportionment across the country.

A panel of three federal judges ruled on Monday that the Wisconsin legislature relied upon unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering when it redrew state legislative districts in 2011.  The case could now move to the Supreme Court, where a new mathematical formula designed to measure partisan gerrymandering could significantly alter the next round of state redistricting/reapportionment in 2021. From the Times:

In Monday’s ruling, the court was swayed by a new and simple mathematical formula to measure the extent of partisan gerrymandering, called the efficiency gap. The formula divides the difference between the two parties’ “wasted votes” — votes beyond those needed by a winning side, and votes cast by a losing side — by the total number of votes cast. [Pols emphasis] When both parties waste the same number of votes, the result is zero — an ideal solution. But as a winning party wastes fewer and fewer votes than its opponent, its score rises.

A truly efficient gerrymander spreads a winning party’s votes so evenly over districts that very few votes are wasted. A review of four decades of state redistricting plans concluded that any party with an efficiency gap of 7 percent or more was likely to keep its majority during the 10 years before new districts were drawn.

In Wisconsin, experts testified, Republicans scored an efficiency gap rating of 11.69 percent to 13 percent in the first election after the maps were redrawn in 2011.

Some experts said the efficiency gap gives gerrymandering opponents their most promising chance yet to persuade a majority of the Supreme Court to limit partisan redistricting. [Pols emphasis]

The once-per-decade redistricting/reapportionment process is often a long, drawn-out (pun intended) process that involves months of legal wrangling from both sides of the political aisle. When it is done particularly poorly, as it was in the infamous 2003 “Midnight Gerrymandering” by Colorado Republicans, it can create deep political wounds that resonate for several election cycles.

We aren’t well-versed enough in election law to definitively say whether or not this “efficiency gap” calculation is the ideal approach for Colorado, but it would certainly be helpful if there were some sort of basic formula that every state could use when it begins the next redistricting/reapportionment process.

The Debut of the 2018 Big Line

biglineflag18The 2016 election has been over for nearly two weeks now, so you know what that means: It’s time to move on toward 2018!

The 2018 Big Line is now available at the top of the page (or via this link if you prefer). As we always say around this time of a new election cycle, the Big Line is very preliminary; Democrats will certainly try to unseat Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, for example, but we haven’t heard enough rumors about any one particular challenger to start listing names just yet.

Expect to see significant changes to The 2018 Big Line before the end of the year, particularly in regards to the race for Governor and the potential open seat in CD-7 (should Rep. Ed Perlmutter indeed jump in the race for Colorado’s top office). But we’ve gotta start somewhere, and this is where we begin…

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (November 22)

MoreSmarter-ThanksgivingWe’re dreaming…of a sleeting…Thanksgiving… It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► “Lock her up!” Nah, that was just talk, says Donald Trump. From the Washington Post:

President-elect Donald Trump has decided that he won’t seek criminal investigations related to former rival Hillary Clinton’s private email server or her family foundation, a senior Trump adviser said Tuesday

Trump’s apparent decision, conveyed by former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,’’ is a change from his campaign rhetoric, in which he issued incendiary calls for a special prosecutor to reopen the FBI’s closed investigation of Clinton’s use of a private server while serving as secretary of state and had also urged investigations of allegations of corruption at the Clinton Foundation. He nicknamed the Democratic nominee “Crooked Hillary” and encouraged chants of “Lock her up!” at his rallies.

Trump’s decision to pursue or not pursue a criminal investigation from the Oval Office would be an extraordinary break with political and legal protocol, which holds that the attorney general and FBI make decisions on whether to conduct investigations and file charges, free of pressure from the president.

For all of those Trump supporters out there who are upset that their candidate is backing away from this particular campaign pledge…well, get used to it (you, too, Breitbarters).

Perhaps Trump realized that it wouldn’t look good to go after Clinton when his own Trump Foundation had just admitted to breaking IRS rules on “self-dealing.”


► Elsewhere, Trump presided over a bizarre meeting with top executives and journalists from several media outlets on Monday. As The New York Post reports, the meeting did not go well:

“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars,” the source said…

…The meeting was off the record, meaning the participants agreed not to talk about the substance of the conversations.

The hour-long session included top execs from network and cable news channels. Among the attendees were NBC’s Deborah Turness, Lester Holt and Chuck Todd, ABC’s James Goldston, George Stephanopoulos, David Muir and Martha Raddatz.

And that was just yesterday. As the Washington Post explains, Trump’s media tirade continued on Tuesday:

President-elect Donald Trump escalated his long-standing battle with the media on Tuesday, canceling a meeting at the New York Times and blasting the publication on Twitter hours after he criticized TV journalists at another contentious sit-down. But as mercurial as he has been known to be, he later changed his mind and agreed to the meeting.

Trump had scheduled two meetings with the publisher and journalists from the Times on Tuesday, including one on-the-record session. But the president-elect, who frequently attacked the paper during his campaign, suddenly canceled the events in a series of tweets.

“I cancelled today’s meeting with the failing @nytimes when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice,’’ Trump wrote to his nearly 16 million followers on the micro-blogging site. “Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes,’’ he continued. “In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!’’

Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States!


► Former Congressman and two-time gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez is reportedly being considered for Interior Secretary in Donald Trump’s administration. This is the same Bob Beauprez who once said that his plan for dealing with wildlife and oil and gas drilling was to teach elk to learn to migrate somewhere else.



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Get More Smarter on Thursday (November 17)

GetMoreSmarter-SnowSnow! Sorta. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► President-elect Donald Trump is preparing to meet his first world leader today when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in New York. As CNN reports, Trump’s team is already making it clear to world leaders such as Abe that his campaign rhetoric was only that — rhetoric:

It’s not hard to see why Prime Minister Abe wants to get first word with Trump.

The Japanese government was concerned by remarks made by Trump during his campaign about relations between the two countries. In particular, officials were rattled by Trump’s suggestions that Japan, which until last year had a pacifist constitution, should obtain nuclear weapons to protect itself from North Korea…

A special adviser sent in advance by Abe to meet with members of Trump’s transition team said he was told Japan shouldn’t take Trump’s campaign talk literally. [Pols emphasis]

“All the people shared the same opinion — that we don’t need to be nervous about every single word and phrase said during Mr Trump’s campaign,” Katsuyuki Kawai told Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Sorry, Trump supporters: It’s beginning to look like everything His Hairness said during the campaign was just…words.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports on concerns that Trump’s meeting with Abe is taking place before the President-elect has even been briefed on Japanese-American relations:

The 5 p.m. session with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump’s first with a foreign leader since the election, has raised questions among some in Washington’s foreign policy community because Trump has apparently not been briefed by the State Department. Officials said Wednesday that the transition team has not reached out to State.

A former State Department official said such a meeting with a foreign leader would normally be preceded by numerous briefings from key diplomats…

Welp. Here we go…

Oh, never mind. Trump says everything is going “so smoothly.”


► President-elect Trump met with Members of Congress on Thursday and apparently received promises for a short-term spending bill that the Republican caucus doesn’t like at all. From the Washington Post:

House Republicans bowed to his wishes and announced plans to extend government funding through March, despite warnings from top GOP senators that such a spending strategy could wreak havoc on the first several months of his presidency. [Pols emphasis]

The House Appropriations Committee chairman, Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), said Thursday that his staff would immediately begin work on a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open through March 31 after consultation with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.


► The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has released ballot return data with breakdowns for party, age, and gender. This will be the last ballot return update issued by the SOS until election results are certified on December 8.


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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (November 15)

Get More SmarterEnjoy the sun, folks; actual winter might be just around the corner. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► President-elect Donald Trump is having a bit of trouble finding qualified people to work in his new administration. As the Washington Post reports, politicos are avoiding a Trump White House like it was the last piece of Halloween Candy:

President-elect Donald Trump prepared on Tuesday to meet with incoming Vice President Mike Pence to discuss Cabinet selections amid continued uncertainty over who will fill key positions and growing acrimony between Trump advisers and some key Republicans…

…Former congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), a widely respected voice on national security, announced that he is leaving his position as a senior national security adviser to Trump’s transition team. Bloomberg Politics, citing people familiar with the matter, said Rogers was asked to leave by senior transition team members.

It was unclear why, and Rogers could not immediately be reached for comment.

Eliot Cohen, a leading voice of opposition to Trump among former national security officials during the campaign, blasted Trump’s transition team in a tweet on Tuesday.

“After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They’re angry, arrogant, screaming “you LOST!” Will be ugly,’’ tweeted Cohen, who served from 2007 to 2009 as counselor to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He was a driving force behind an open letter last spring — eventually signed by 122 Republican national security leaders — who opposed Trump’s candidacy.

The Post also reports that former Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson will not be a part of a Trump administration after all. You know things are really going off the rails when Ben Freakin’ Carson doesn’t want a job.


► Congressman Mike Coffman and his wife, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, seem to think that the 2016 election and the rise of Donald Trump is pretty hilarious. The joke’s on you.


► One of Colorado’s representatives to the Electoral College is encouraging Republicans to refuse to support Donald Trump for President. #NeverTrump to the bitter end, baby!

For those of you who aren’t fans of Trump, don’t get too excited — this isn’t likely to work.


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What you can do

capitolLast week’s election was a disaster for America. Today, millions of Americans from all walks of life are rightfully afraid for the future, for their families, and for their safety, and wondering how the country they love could have made such a terrible choice.

Here in Colorado, things went a little differently. Colorado rejected Donald Trump, and sent Michael Bennet back to Washington to fight for our values. Colorado grew a progressive majority in the Colorado House of Representatives, and passed a ballot measure to raise the wage for thousands of our state’s workers to $12 an hour. We also passed funding for our schools in many local districts, and created a new compassionate option for the terminally ill to ease their suffering.

Progressive ideas won in Colorado on Tuesday night. In an election that has left many of us questioning our nation’s most basic values, Colorado voters reaffirmed what it means to be Americans. In Colorado, we understand that when our neighbor is successful, so are we. When we invest in education, social justice, public health, and the environment, we all lead better and more prosperous lives. When we respect our differences instead of letting them divide us, we are all stronger.

What comes next? We have to stand together for what we believe in no matter what the politicians in Washington do. Colorado can be a model for fixing the problems America faces. Sign up now for rapid-response alerts to help us respond.

Once you’ve signed up for action alerts, connect with local organizations working on issues important to you. In Colorado, we have a wealth of strong public policy and advocacy groups working every day to solve problems our community faces, protect our rights, and build a prosperous future. Donate, join their lists, volunteer; we’ve got to start now if we’re going to fight back against what the newly emboldened right-wing in Washington is going to try to do to us:


Get More Smarter on Monday (November 14)

Get More SmarterYes, that was a very big moon. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► Well, shit: Donald Trump has selected well-known white nationalist Steve Bannon to be his top advisor in the White House.


► What will a Donald Trump White House mean for Colorado? The Denver Post tries to answer that question:

The impacts on Colorado are likely to be felt in key industries in the state such as energy, health care, transportation and recreational marijuana, and on social issues including the environment and immigration.

In those areas, Colorado leaders are anxious about the changes to come. Trump could wipe away hallmarks of the Obama administration, from the Clean Power Plan to the Affordable Care Act, while emphasizing fossil fuel production over environmental protection and regulatory oversight.

Dennis Webb of the Grand Junction Sentinel considers this question from a Western Slope perspective.


► The Colorado Secretary of State’s office continues to tabulate ballot return figures for the 2016 election.


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Neville Putsch: GOP Picks 2017 State House, Senate Leaders

A sausage fest.

A sausage fest.

As the Denver Post’s Chris Osher reports, a wild morning for Republicans at today’s Colorado General Assembly leadership elections yielded some unexpected developments–and some, well not so unexpected:

State House Republicans on Thursday opted to choose one of their more conservative members as minority leader, rejecting a representative who raised $1.5 million for legislative races this year and has held a leadership post.

During a caucus at the statehouse on Wednesday, Republicans voted in as minority leader Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock. Neville’s family has ties to Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a gun-rights organization that has a take-no prisoners reputation in legislative races. His brother, Tim, has been a lobbyist for that group.

Rep. Polly Lawrence of Douglas County, who had been assistant minority leader in the House, chose not to put her name up for minority leader. She had been a prolific fund raiser for Republicans during this election cycle.

The selection of Rep. Patrick Neville as House Minority Leader is not a good sign for bipartisan comity in the chamber, but it’s another big win for the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners-Neville clan alliance that has seen some hard times this year. Safe to say, Neville as House Minority Leader is not what Bob Beauprez invested all that money in GOP primaries to bring about.

In the Colorado Senate, a troika of white dudes take control: Kevin Grantham elected as the new President of the GOP’s enduring 18-17 majority, Chris Holbert as Majority Leader, and Jerry “Eye Candy” Sonnenberg replacing the outgoing Sen. Ellen Roberts as Senate President pro tem. One of the Senate’s most loquacious and intransigent conservatives, Kevin Lundberg, joins Kent Lambert on the Joint Budget Committee.

What did you expect? It’s not like Donald Trump was going to teach them any lessons.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (November 10)

Get More SmarterThere are just 726 days until Election Day in 2018. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► If you still have a mail ballot at home, go ahead and fold that sucker into a neat paper airplane. Here are some paper airplane templates that may or may not work.

If you want to know what happened to all of those other ballots, the Secretary of State has updated ballot return numbers this morning.


► In a move that should come as a surprise to, well, nobody, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler made it known on Wednesday that he will likely seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is among the Republicans who will also likely run for the big job in Colorado. On the Democratic side, look for names such as Ed PerlmutterKen SalazarCary Kennedy, and state Rep. Michael Johnston. We’ll have a new Big Line for 2018 next week.


► The next time you see a photograph of Donald Trump and Paul Ryan together will be the first time. As the Washington Post reports, “Trumpism” and “Ryanism” are on a political collision course:

Donald Trump will lunch with Paul Ryan at 12:30 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club after he drops by the White House to meet with Barack Obama. The Speaker of the House declared at his post-election press conference yesterday that the president-elect has won “a mandate.” But a mandate for what?

Trump’s victory represents nothing less than a repudiation of Ryan’s brand of Republicanism, both substantively and stylistically. The two have sharply different views of what it means to be a conservative, and they want to take the Republican Party down different paths…

…There are many other issues on which Ryan and Trump disagree, such as eminent domain, but they are somewhat moot because they will not be on the docket in the next four years. As Jonathan Martin puts it in today’s New York Times, “Trump ran as a Republican, but he was effectively a third-party candidate who happened to campaign under the banner of one of the two major parties.”


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Election Day Open Thread #2

UPDATE #5: Judge rejects motion from Democrats to extend voting times in Denver:


UPDATE #4: Democrats get excited about reports that the state of Georgia is closer than expected, though Donald Trump is narrowly ahead:


UPDATE #3: After an outage of the state’s voter registration system during the day, Democrats go to court to extend voting:


Voting hours have also been extended in a key North Carolina county (Durham) due to computer errors.


UPDATE #2: Polls close at 5:00 (Mountain) in Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and the rest of Indiana/Kentucky.


UPDATE: The Colorado Secretary of State’s office released new ballot return numbers this afternoon.


Polls in parts of Indiana and Kentucky close at 6:00 Eastern time. Here we go…